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OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING

Offshoring and Outsourcing

For people that do not have an in-depth understanding of the global supply chain one of the most common misunderstandings is the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. Sometimes it can be frustrating for business owners when their customers do not have a full understanding of the terms that are used.

The misunderstanding between offshoring and outsourcing causes problems for businesses because both terms have quite a negative perception, although this is actually not the case.

Despite the common misconception between the two terms, there is a clear difference between offshoring and outsourcing. A more detailed definition of both along with an explanation of the key differences can be found below.

 

OUTSOURCING

Outsourcing is the practice of hiring an individual or another company to carry out a specific role that is vital to the company. One of the main reasons why it is so popular is that allows business owners to pass certain tasks to experts in their field so that they can focus on the things that they are best at.

Outsourcing creates more business opportunities all over the world because companies are not restricted to just working with other businesses in their country. Companies that provide services for other businesses also have a great deal of choice over the businesses that they choose to work with. This helps to ensure that everything is running smoothly as the companies that are working together are a good fit for each other.

There are also financial benefits of outsourcing that businesses can take advantage of. If part of the production process is taking place elsewhere then businesses will not need as much real estate and can save on the overheads that are associated with occupying any type of business premises.

It is easier than ever now for businesses to communicate with the people that they have outsourced work. Work orders can be sent electronically and if a face to face conversation is needed then there are many ways that this can take place online.

OFFSHORING

A company can outsource work to anywhere in the world and this includes the country that they are based in. Offshoring is different because in this case the work is always moved overseas.

The main reason companies take part in offshoring is that the cost of producing goods is often far cheaper overseas. The cost of materials can sometimes be cheaper, and the cost of labour will almost certainly be lower. Before a decision about offshoring is made it can be useful to do a comparison of costs to determine the level of savings that can be made.

Offshoring has been credited with being one of the main reasons why the cost of goods such as clothing and technology has fallen so much in recent years. The savings that are made by companies can be passed on to customers in the form of lower pricing and if customers are able to buy more than this stimulates the economy. It also provides people in poorer countries with a chance to earn some money which in turn will boost their economy as well.

Offshoring can also open new markets to the business in the country that is carrying out work for them. If products are made in another country, then it makes sense to sell them there as well. There is the potential for these markets to become quite lucrative for businesses that can be one of the first to get their products out there.

Combining the Two

Even though they mean different things, outsourcing and offshoring can be combined to maximize profits for the company and to lower prices for consumers. This is not a new idea and many companies have been doing this for years, with a lot of their production shifting overseas.

However, while the savings are being felt by businesses it can be argued that there are costs which are felt by the entire nation. The prominent concern here is that if production is being outsourced to an offshore location then this reduces job opportunities for workers in the country where the company is based.

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a discussion about the way companies use sites overseas, then it can be very useful to know the differences between outsourcing and offshoring. There are economic and moral upside & downside about both that can be debated but knowing the difference will help you to make a better decision.

BENEFITS OF OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING

Benefits of Offshore Outsourcing

Australian entrepreneurs and other countries are always working to find the best talent for their business operations. Since the competition between businesses has a direct impact on the profits and the company’s bottom line, business owners and their representatives need to hire the best. Therefore, if the situation requires it, the search for the top candidates for any job can be found within the same country or the owner may need to tap into offshore resources to pursue the resources that they need for their jobs. Having said this, if you are interested in offshore outsourcing the advantages that these options offer you, here are some of the top benefits that you can expect when you are looking to fill certain positions in your operations.

REDUCED COST OF OPERATIONS

Though there are many ways to fill your open positions for certain jobs today, you may find that some options are much more beneficial than others. Particularly, when you are thinking about the need to reduce the cost of operations, you may find that offshore outsourcing can be very advantageous to you. So, if you want to reduce the budget that you are allocating for the talent that you are looking for, you may find that this kind of outsourcing is great for those who want to reduce the cost. Offshore outsourcing can be an excellent option for those who do not want to invest additional funds in the training and development of permanent part-time or full-time positions. Instead, these positions can be filled by an outside agency offshore that can keep the hourly rates that they charge at a minimum cost.

The concentration of Efforts on Core Business Activities

In addition to reducing the hourly rates that these outside agencies charge, it is also important to note that the concentration of efforts on core business activities can be increased. While business owners and their key staff work on building and branding the business, there are always other support functions that need to be done. For instance, if the role of the business is to supply various products and services, they may have limited time available to work on technical duties to support their operations including fixing computer repair problems as they surface.

Taking Advantage of Time Zone Differences

Global business operations are popping up everywhere. In fact, there are online businesses that make money from one region of the world to the next. Hence, having to service these global areas can be a monumental effort for companies that have to support different time zones. However. if the business has access to offshore outsource sources, the time zone differences can easily be addressed. This is one of the top reasons why some companies choose to hire their talent from offshore outsourcing agencies that can supply the services that they need anytime, anyplace and anywhere.

Experts in the Field of Technology – Advanced Practices

Today, the speed of technological advances is astronomical. In fact, professionals in this field all over the globe are often struggling to keep up with all the swift changes. So, keeping an internal staff up to date with training and changes in the field can be a huge issue for management. To overcome these concerns, offshore outsourcing has become a great solution since experts in these fields can provide the resources needed. Particularly, if the company wants to maintain a competitive edge over other companies in the same or similar industry across the world.

Gives Employers More Flexibility

When a company uses offshore outsourcing, it gives them greater flexibility in supporting the goals and objectives of the business. Based on the number of resources needed, the talent that is needed to complete certain special projects can be very beneficial. This is especially the case when the contractors are required to speak foreign languages.

OFFSHORING STAFF TO MAXIMISE EXPOSURE TO ASIA’S GROWTH

Today Asia is the epicentre of global economic growth. Alongside the established economic giants like Japan, India, and the People’s Republic of China, other nations like South Korea, Indonesia, and Taiwan are rapidly expanding.

Effective engagement with these nations means understanding how offshore outsourcing companies operate. Let’s review now the key elements your business needs to successfully outsource to Asia.

  1. Employing People That Are Bilingual

Around the region, there are over 2,1000 languages spoken in Asia. While many of these are regional dialects, the fact remains that any business seeking to grow their presence in Australia and wider Asia will do so most effectively with bilingual team members.

Though English may be the default language of business around the world, in Asia there remains a tremendous advantage when a business is bilingual. Given the Philippines has over 170 language spokes throughout its nation, it is an ideal destination to outsource language needs to.

  1. Employing People That Have Diverse Cultural Background from the Philippines

The power of language allows for easier navigation of cultural divides, and the ability to more easily network and build strong working relationships. But ultimately, this requires employees who know innately all the little nuances, traditions, and idiosyncrasies that make up a business culture and community.

Given its longstanding mix of Eastern and Western influence, the Philippines today is an epicentre in Asia for building bridges in business and hiring dedicated virtual assistants that enable a business to thrive locally and globally.

  1. Employing People in an Advantageous Time zone

Today’s global economy is fast becoming perpetual. Thanks to the digital era, there is the ability to communicate with someone on the other side of the world just as easily as someone on the other side of the office. Despite this, there is of course still the need to have people answer the phone and reply to urgent emails during business hours.

That’s why when it comes to outsourcing, it is crucial to ensure the assistants you hire operate in a time zone that is advantageous to your one. This is why the Philippines has always been an excellent resource for hiring professionals.

With a time zone 3 hours behind AEDT, it’s easy for outsourced workers to operate at the same time as your Australian office hours, or even to take the reigns in the late afternoon and early evening to ensure your business remains contactable well beyond 5 pm or 6 pm.

This can deliver huge advantages not only in building business throughout the region but also in outpacing the customer service offerings of your competition here in Australia!

But Keep in Mind

The same cultural advantages can be a challenge. That’s why it’s always ideal to have a local. An anchor, an outsourcing provider you can trust. Because while outsourced Filipino workers may share a language with Australians, there is, of course, different cultures and approaches to business between the two nations.

Australians are well-positioned to seize upon the advantages of this growth, and to build their business nationally and within the region. But doing so successfully requires real understanding and precision. Context can be all-important in business, and that’s why having Australians who can lead and oversee your remote worker team is vital.

Why Hiring Us Today Is Essential

Our team is proud to have a truly global reach with immense resources in the Philippines, and a local head office in Melbourne. As a trusted provider in this space with years of experience serving Australian outsourced companies, we have the proven expertise and understanding to help make your Aussie business more agile and lean in 2019.

FOUR IMPORTANT REASONS WHY THE PHONE CALL IS STILL KING

Considering the rise and rise of ‘new’ media marketing like email, social and online over the past two decades, it’s fair enough to ask the question ‘is the phone still pulling its weight in the modern sales and marketing toolkit?’

If you’re still cold calling like it’s 1995 then yes, you may be better off switching to a different platform – consumers are pretty adept these days at ignoring nuisance calls and stale, repetitive sales pitches so if you haven’t updated your sales call techniques to respond to today’s consumer then you might find more success with email or social marketing.

But when they’re done well, in this era of customer-centric sales that’s all about building trust, recognition and loyalty, nothing hits all three marks as effectively as a direct, real-time, human-to-human phone conversation.

And here’s why:

A Personal Touch. An email or instant message lacks intimacy and invites miscommunication. Other than being face-to-face, phone calls are the most effective way to build a rapport with existing and potential new customers and make them feel like you care about them and/or their business. For certain industries – legal, health, insurance – being able to connect with a real human being is an essential part of the decision-making process.

Identify And Resolve Pain Points Immediately. With generic mass-marketing approaches like email or content marketing you need to make informed guesses about the most likely customer pain points and selling points. With actual, real customer interaction, you can pinpoint issues by asking specific questions and offer the prospect a solution, adapting your pitch as you go in response to their reactions.

Better Cut-Through. We are so bombarded with emails, online ads and social media posts these days that most make a fleeting impression at best, and it’s likely that a couple of hours later we will have forgotten we ever saw them. A phone call – even a brief conversation – leaves a lasting impression and even if the call fails to convert at the time, chances are the prospect will be far more likely to recall your company details if demand for your product or services arises in future, or if they’re asked to make a recommendation.

Immediacy. Ever opened an email that contained information about a product or service you were actually interested in and thought ‘I’ll follow this up/check out the website/reply later’? With a real time, person-to-person conversation, your prospects can immediately get the answers to their questions, more information and a clear path to completing the desired transaction before they have a chance to forget, get distracted or change their mind.

So while there’s no shortage of alternatives to the good old-fashioned sales call, smart businesses are still well-advised to continue investing in this tried and true method, as long as they’re doing it well!

BIG DATA: WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW CAN IT HELP IMPROVE YOUR BOTTOM LINE

It’s almost impossible these days to be part of a conversation on sales and customer experience without talking about big data. This is the term given to large collections of the consumer information (data) received by B2B or B2C businesses – names, postcodes, age, personal preferences, income, spending habits – on a daily basis. When this information is collected in mass quantities, it’s known as ‘big’ data.

This data is collected in a multitude of ways – just think about any time you write down your phone number, email address, visit a website, make a purchase, answer a survey or join a loyalty program. The concept of big data often gets a bad rap among consumers, mostly because it’s often associated with spam marketing, privacy breeches and fraudulent practices. And yes, in theory big data can be used to try to manipulate you into buying things you don’t want or need, or lead to an annoying and invasive influx of irrelevant marketing. Luckily, the past decade has seen big business slowly come to the realisation that making – and keeping – customers happy is the best way to create sustainable growth (gasp!).

One of the best tools made available to businesses working with a dedicated telesales team is call recording and analysis. This is helpful way of monitoring not just the performance of your team but also – and potentially far more profitably – the response and reactions of your prospects, all of which can contribute significantly to your big data big picture. Data collected during sales and marketing calls – whether they’re ‘successful’ or not, can be analysed and used to design and influence everything from CX, sales and marketing strategies to product design and innovation. It can provide a window into the mindset and needs of your customers and prospects that might otherwise not be clear and, when supported by the right people, tools and analytics, can offer meaningful and valuable insights that can better connect you with your customers and their needs.

Many leading companies are now embedding data-driven insights drawn from big data into every aspect of their business, using it to help define their culture and offering and become truly responsive to consumer needs and preferences. In this new era of customer awareness, it’s easy to see how big data can be used to achieve positive business outcomes. With the right team, processes and tools in place, the sky’s the limit.

ACTIVE LISTENING 101

If you’ve ever worked in outbound sales – either telesales or in a face-to-face environment – you’ll know how easy it can be to slip into ‘autopilot’ when pitching new products or services to prospective customers.

Likewise when we’re continually receiving similar responses, our brains can be tempted to pick and choose the information we’re hearing and in turn offer standardised, generic responses that may not actually address the pain point or concern. There can also be a strong temptation when you’re selling in a high-pressure, high-turnover environment (like a call centre) to simply wait for your turn to speak before assailing the prospect with a barrage of information, rather than actually responding to what they have said.

Active listening is a skill that comes naturally to very few, but it can be easily mastered and is an essential tool for any aspiring sales hotshot, so it’s worth investing a little time and effort into getting it right.

Here are the basics:

Make your prospect feel ‘heard’. This can be as simple as summarising their response and repeating it back to them before you offer a response or solution. Where possible, use the same or similar language as your prospect and don’t be afraid to repeat key words or phrases. Some useful ways of framing your response (so you don’t sound like an echo) include:
‘Okay so what I’m hearing from you is…..’

‘So just to clarify…’

‘It seems like what you’re telling me is…’

Stay focused and engaged. There’s nothing more irritating than trying to explain something to someone who’s clearly distracted. Let your mind wander to your next call, your KPIs for the day or what’s for lunch and it’ll show. Plus you’ll be much more likely to miss key information that might help you close the sale.
Don’t fear the sound of silence. It’s a natural human instinct to rush to fill up silence, particularly when you’re speaking to new people. But pausing for just a heartbeat or two before you respond gives the impression that you are absorbing what the prospect has just said and offering a considered response, as opposed to just waiting for your turn to speak. It should go without saying that you should never interrupt a prospective customer – even if you have something amazing to say!
Did you catch all that?

FUN (AND EASY!) WAYS TO IMPROVE CONTACT CENTRE CULTURE

The phrase ‘contact centre culture’ often conjures up some fairly negative connotations – think row upon row of drab grey cubicles, fluorescent lighting and zombie-esque agents stuck in an endlessly monotonous cycle of robotic conversations with disinterested customers. In reality, there’s no reason why the modern contact centre can’t be a fun and inspiring workplace with a strong corporate culture that keeps agents feeling motivated and engaged. Below are a few simple and easy tips for boosting workplace morale (which can in turn boost productivity, employee engagement …and your bottom line!).

Decorate.  How’s your workspace looking? Is there room for improvement? Whether consciously or subconsciously, our physical environment can have a huge impact on our state of mind. While it’s important to keep your workspace professional and free from unnecessary distractions, increasing natural light wherever possible, using light, bright colours and including some healthy living greenery can go a long way to improving the overall look and feel of your offices – and create an environment where your staff can thrive.

Motivate. A little friendly competition never hurt anybody and can be a great way to put a little extra fire under your team.  An inter-office contest with a desirable prize will give your agents a reason to go above and beyond and create a fun competitive buzz around the office (just make sure it’s friendly competition).

Celebrate. Taking a moment to celebrate and reward both team and individual achievements – even the little ones – will make your staff feel like their hard work is valued, and inspire them to keep it up! A box of fresh-baked treats in the break room because Eric doubled his daily target yesterday or Kirsty landed a particularly challenging client won’t break the bank but it will go a long way to making your team feel recognised and appreciated.

Move. Countless studies have proven that physical activity can have a dramatic effect on workplace performance. As little as 15 minutes of light exercise during the workday can improve focus, concentration and productivity, reduce sick days and increase employee engagement and satisfaction. There are plenty of fun ways to encourage your team to get moving: table tennis in the break room, afternoon yoga or stretching sessions, or consider turning small group meetings (2-3 people) into walking meetings.

Smile. This one might seem extremely simplistic but teams will often unconsciously adopt the energy of their leader/s, so if you’re not happy and energised at work, chances are they won’t be either. Lead by example and focus on the positives, expect the best from people and recognise mistakes and setbacks as essential steps on the road to success!

HOT LEADS LEAD THE WAY

Pestered by continuous hammering on the phone? Feel sick to get on the next call? Whiffing about the so called “Hot Leads” supplied by the vendor?

This has been the age-old issue with every marketer who uses phone medium for customer acquisition. Various methods including online, offline, digital, surveys, contests etc. are in vogue and they play an important tool to get leads.

Low conversions, absolute slamming and pesky nature of telesales has made hot, credible and relevant leads order of the day for any direct customer acquisition campaign. Hence RED HOT Sales campaigns are becoming dinosaurs through cold calling mode.

Qualification of leads remains the pivot for their ultimate conversions into a SALE. In layman terms, qualified lead is equivalent to the client’s IDEAL Customer Profile. This, coupled with a WANT leads to conversion. Historically, WANT has always superseded the NEED in impulsive buying or purchase.

How do we set up a scalable and sustainable lead generation vehicle?

Phone leads with soft and subtle persuasion will always add a flavour to customer decision-making. The proper profiling in such lead generation process will let the last mile conversation to be precise in ensuring that customer WANTS are dealt properly.

Remember, online channels generate customers who needs the product/service whereas phone leads channel generates customer who WANT the product/service. With huge phone lists and databases, an efficient call center can be instrumental in putting together a long-term sustainable customer acquisition process.

5 SIGNS IT’S TIME TO OUTSOURCE YOUR SALESFORCE

Thinking it might be time to outsource your lead or sales generation calls? Here are five great reasons why you should be…

   

 

  1. You Want To Improve Your Customer Experience. Contrary to popular belief, hiring an external sales team can actually improve your customer experience journey. A good contact centre uses proven, regularly audited processes that are individualised according to the client’s needs, so contact with existing and potential customers is kept professional, productive and profitable. As long as communication is open and regular and your outsourcing efforts have a clearly defined role in the overall customer journey, outsourcing that first point of contact can be the basis for a long and fruitful relationship
  2. You Want To Save Money And Increase Productivity. Outsourcing your sales calls to a professional contact centre can be enormously beneficial to both your productivity and your bottom line. Choose carefully, and the return on your investment will be a dedicated sales team equipped with the latest training and technology to maximise call profitability and minimise call times. They’re also far less likely to make costly or embarrassing mistakes, and they absorb the cost of staff turnover and training.
  3. Your Leads Aren’t Converting. Chasing up unqualified leads or allowing too long between first contact and follow-up can be a costly and frustrating waste of time, and even the world’s greatest sales team can’t convert leads that weren’t really leads in the first place. A good contact centre should be able to identify and deliver genuine quality prospects based on clean, well-curated data. Choose a company whose criteria for lead qualification match your needs and, if possible, remunerate them based on actual qualified leads or sales provided, not on call rates.
  4. You Lack The Resources To Train And Retain Quality Agents. Finding and retaining quality sales staff to support your growing business can quickly become a black hole of time and resources. A reputable contact centre can instantly provide you with an experienced and highly trained team, backed by managers who are continually refining and honing their practices to deliver the best possible outcomes for your business.
  5. You Want To Focus More On New Media. While the phone call is still king in the ever-changing world of outbound sales, new media like social and digital marketing are becoming increasingly effective tools for finding, engaging and retaining new customers. If your business is one of the millions that could be doing more with new media, it may be worthwhile outsourcing an experienced team to look after your sales and lead generation calls so you can channel more of your in-house resources into future-proofing your business.

WHY DON’T WE HAVE MORE REMOTE CALL CENTRE OPERATORS?

Back in 2010, the remote contact centre was being touted as the next big thing, a sure fire ticket to revolutionising the industry and future-proofing it for decades to come. Fast forward to today, and it’s the rare contact centre that offers the option of a work-from-home arrangement – let alone running an entire remote workforce.

So given the undeniable broader trend for creating more flexible working conditions, and the supporting research that suggests it’s good for both employee satisfaction and the bottom line, why doesn’t Australia have more remote contact centre operations?

It’s certainly not an issue of technology; the software – and hardware – required to efficiently delegate, monitor and measure contact centre work has been around for years and continues to improve, while remaining relatively affordable (although it’s worth noting that Australia’s comparatively slow internet speeds and lack of connectivity do present difficulties that other developed nations have long since left behind).

Nor is it likely an issue of affordability, since most studies have shown that allowing employees to work from home significantly reduces overhead costs and profitability lost to sick days, employee turnover and absenteeism. Furthermore, and contrary to historical misconceptions, employees who work from home are generally more productive and higher performing across almost all KPIs than their in-office counterparts.

With so much evidence in support of the move to remote operations and so many companies growing increasingly dissatisfied with offshore agencies but still keen to improve their bottom line, it might seem surprising that more contact centre operators haven’t adopted a remote working model…until you look a little closer.

Building and maintaining a happy, high-performance contact centre team requires a number of elements – many of which I touched on in my last post. One of the most essential is creating a great team dynamic and an effective leadership framework from which to motivate, assess and guide your team on a daily basis. Take away the interactive face-to-face work environment, and it suddenly becomes extremely difficult to maintain and motivate strong performance. The work can be challenging and repetitive, and far more than in other industries, most contact centre agents require frequent coaching, quality assessment, encouragement and support to perform well in their jobs – particularly within outbound, sales-driven agencies.

In addition, the contact centre industry draws heavily from the young (18-25) and travelling worker pool, two groups whose work and social lives are often interdependent, making the concept of working from home less appealing than it would be to, say, a young mother or part-time retiree.

So what’s the upshot? While I recognise the very real benefits of running a remote team, for most Aussie operators running a successful remote contact centre team would require the kind of top-to-bottom operational overhaul that  most simply aren’t yet prepared to embrace.

Speak to us about Virtual Staffing for your business

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